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Staying south for the winter

Saturday, 10.02.2010 / 3:00 AM / 2010-2011 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Staying south for the winter
When much of the hockey world will be shoveling out their driveways, the Lightning will spend most of January in sunny south Florida
When much of the hockey world will be shoveling out their driveways, the Lightning will spend most of January in sunny south Florida

Advantage Margin: -10
The Lightning did a much better job of staying out of the penalty box than they did in 2008-09, dropping their times shorthanded total from a League-high 405 to 336 (though they still surrendered the second-highest number of opposing power plays).

Special Teams Goal Margin: -8
Steven Stamkos led the NHL with 24 power-play goals, but the Lightning's penalty-killers surrendered 67 goals and scored a League-low twice while shorthanded. They were the only team not to score a shorthanded goal on the road.

Goals by defensemen: 24   
Losing Kurtis Foster (8 goals) and Andrej Meszaros (6) won't help the offensive numbers from the blue line. The Bolts hope newcomer Pavel Kubina (6 goals for Atlanta) and 2009 first-round pick Victor Hedman (4 goals as a rookie) will pick up the slack.

Overtime Record
Total: 9-5-7
OT: 5-5 SO: 4-7
Tampa Bay slightly was improved in shootouts after a League-worst 3-10 mark in 2008-09. The biggest problem last season was offensive -- the Lightning scored just six times (three by Stamkos) on 36 attempts.

Times Scored First: 36 Record: 22-8-6
The Lightning scored first 18 times at home and 18 on the road, but they were much better in turning those points into wins at the St. Pete Times Forum (13-3-2) than away from it (9-5-4).

Best 2009-10 Number: 51
Goals scored by Stamkos in his second NHL season. At age 20, he tied Sidney Crosby for the Rocket Richard Trophy and became the third-youngest 50-goal scorer in League history; only Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Carson were younger when they reached the 50-goal mark.

Worst 2009-10 Number: 21
Games in which the Lightning lost by three or more goals, the second-highest total in the League. They were 9-7 in blowout games at home, but an abysmal 2-14 on the road.
    
Scheduling
The Bolts have a four-game Western trip that starts in late October and begins a stretch of nine of 11 on the road. But they spend more than a month at home beginning in late January, when they'll play 12 in a row at St. Pete Times Forum.
Quote of the Day

I just wanted to do something to take my mind off the shot and let me relax a little bit. It seemed like the fans liked it. I'm glad I was able to score.

— Oilers forward Taylor Hall on lifting his arms to fire up the crowd before his penalty shot
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